I can see you.

This is the tale of Woody, here he is with his lovely human Hermina.

The subject of having a plan came up this weekend in our Waterhole Rituals ™ clinic. I said personally I think it is fine to have a plan, so long as we remain flexible, one of the participants found it easier to be clear for her horse if she had a plan. Our horses may offer us more than we ‘planned’ for though, so we wouldn’t want to miss something special they may offer by sticking inflexibly to our plan.

Woody was the horse that tipped me totally off balance, my plan was scuppered and we all paused to hear him. Woody has another human friend called Anna and she also came to the clinic, my ‘plan’ was for Hermina and Anna to play the carrot game with Woody this involves two people and it has many benefits for our relationships. Our horse makes decisions, they learn to be sent and to be drawn, it can improve our horses gas pedal, and focus. We improve our abilities and timing too.

You don’t need to look with your eyes to see the beauty of a spirit.

This was not how things went, I felt a strong connection to Woody almost straight away. He only has one eye and can be spooky as when a dog barked close to him and he spooked at the beginning of his session. I was hoping to put Hermina at ease by working with him a little, he has scared her in the past as he moves very fast. I felt he wanted me on his blind side he was very clear about this, so we interacted with each other, saying hello, leading him from behind a little and making connections, I knew his spook was long forgotten on his part and that is how he needed me to feel too. I felt very close to him. I was about to hand over to Hermina and get out of the way when he stopped me in my tracks and buried his muzzle in my hands telling me he needed a moment, so we stopped I explained he needs a moment. This moment seemed to go on and the longer it went on the more I was picking up from him. He decided I could listen like a horse.

Woody really showed me that he could ‘see’ right into me. He made me feel that sight is only one of our senses and he could still ‘see’ and feel us all the time. He let me know that he is a very special horse and maybe with his failing sight he wanted to be seen for what is within him, his huge spirit and presence are the things he shared with me in those moments. He made sure he was heard and pushed me to acknowledge that I could hear him, he stopped me in my tracks and made sure of it!

Woody really is a beautiful spirit and he so wants to connect and be heard. It felt very much like our paths were destined to collide.

I am very grateful to have met him and Hermina, we will stay connected I know that. I know he loves his human and trusts her and he came to teach me as much as Hermina. It’s a hard job sharing the Waterhole Rituals ™ and meeting the nicest, most open people I could hope to meet along the way.

I realised after writing this that I had written the phrase ” Listen like a horse” and I had that morning said goodbye to Kerri Lake who’s book is titled Listen like a horse, Kerri did a clinic before our Waterhole Ritual clinic at Brandy House Farm and there are plans for her return so please if you would like to “Listen like a horse” keep an eye out for my Waterhole Ritual clinics and Kerri’s Listen like a horse clinics in Wales. You can find links here on my website under the links tab.

When we open ourselves up completely, listen from our heart, a horse comes along who wants to open his heart up to us, completely!

Love Jayne x

Chester’s spooky party.

It has been the summer holidays for my grandchildren and they have all been getting involved with the horses, horses love children. They can be unpredictable, fast and loud ( The Children!) so for Chester who is spooky by nature that is something to learn to cope with.

The Waterhole Rituals ™ The Carolyn Resnick method help bring alive our horses spirit, they are allowed to show us how they feel and we learn to ‘read’ our horses better. I am so pleased that my grandchildren love this part of being around the horses, they never ask why we are doing something different and not riding, they have got used to the fact that this is the way we operate here. The other day Chester had a big spook with Maisie onboard she was upset as is an inexperienced rider although has very good balance and is on the lead rein due to Chester’s lack of experience as well. We decided today to help him see how brave he could be.

I asked the girls to help me set up a birthday party with ballons, banners, shakers and wild dancing, things to walk over and waving bags and flags. I had not done this before with Chester so we didn’t know how it would go. He watched from his pen and the back of his stable as Noonoo went up to everything touched it and calmly went to explore the next ‘scary’ item. I don’t desensitize my horses to things I simply build trust, ( The second of the Waterhole Rituals ™ ) I try to show them being calm is good.

I am so very pleased for Chester that he not only has a Nana (me) who wants to be with him and is rather smitten with him but also a little girl who is really taken with him. Maisie is always to be found in his stable hanging out with him when ever possible always says hello to him as soon as she arrives and clearly is forming a bond with him.

I will add that he can escape her influence as his stable has an attached turnout pen, my grandchildren all know we never pursue the horse, we request that they move for us but never chase them. Maisie learnt this early on back in the winter on a cold evening after school. Saying hello and asking Chester to move from one pile of hay to another.

The girls didn’t watch tv or play games on their phones, today they helped with yard duties learning having horses in our lives is a gift and we don’t stop caring for them when we dismount. They enjoyed making this little film, a snippet of what Chester bravely managed. We had fun and were all very proud of him.

I would love to think the next generation can learn a kinder, more thoughtful, more rewarding , and even safer way to be with horses.

Love Jayne x

Who’s opinion matters.

I was recently asked by someone why I use the tack I do as I can’t compete in dressage in a bitless bridle. In fact also why don’t I ‘do’ anything with my horses. Well I replied without really considering my response and this came out…..I am very happy not ‘Doing’ anything and in fact my horses don’t ever HAVE to do anything, though we ‘do’ a lot and they offer a lot. However I also don’t need the opinions of judges as the only one that is important to me is that of my horse.

I surprised myself here, as I used to compete a little, possibly I felt the judgement and opinion in the question. I wanted to help this person out and explain that if my horse likes me, likes what we do together and offers me a working bond, a true partnership then constructive guidance is a wonderful thing and in fact I have lessons and look for this. This is the place I come from in clinics I always hope to help grow a partnership using The Carolyn Resnick Method, The Waterhole Rituals ™ It is always my aim to empower, never to judge.

My horses opinion of me, who I am, how I show up for them is the one that matters. ( and they always give honest feedback ) I know people who feel pressure to perform in some way with their horse, or even take up some pastime their horse does not enjoy. If the horse is not willing and enjoying what you do together where is the joy and fun!

When I have been away, I have enjoyed the connections with other horses and humans, when I return I can’t wait to check in with my three and see how they feel about me, I am sure they know I have grown and learnt in some way and we always, connect again even if there is much to catch up with in my human world, even if it is a special hello or hanging out for a short time. We do love to move around together as well though. I never know how they will feel but love finding out.

Make a connection with your horse every day like you have been away and have missed them. Every day is the start of your relationship today!

Love Jayne x

Chester and trust.

Chester is a highly intelligent and reactive little fellow, when he came to me from World horse welfare I started with building a relationship and above all trust between us, we didn’t know each other so how could we start to really trust one another. He had not had much contact with humans and I believe never experienced a relationship with a person that went to where I was hoping to go.

He had not been ridden or ‘trained’ apart from some lunging and bringing him in to a stable and handling him, grooming etc at whw.

The Carolyn Resnick Method, The Waterhole Rituals ™ of course was my starting point to build this trust that he needed. He is a little on the small side and was pretty weak having never done anything, he was very reluctant to pick up his left hind and could only hold it up for a moment. He has had several different treatments from people I trust to help my horses. I have worked him with tack as well as at liberty to strengthen his body, I want him to feel as balanced as possible with me on him.

Taken from the mounting block.

The connection we have grown in such a short time really is an honor to feel, we love being together and he is very cheeky and playful he also lets me know that riding is something he would like to do. When you start and frequently return to building that connection the trust grows, he can still be spooky and I am too old to take chances so we go slowly which is what he needs as well. The joy of being together and seeing what we can do today means there is no rush, we are enjoying the process.

Today was windy, not his favorite, the long grass just outside the arena blows and he knows tigers hide in there. I am not sure how it happened and of course on such a day it wouldn’t have been the thing I would be thinking to try but today we played at could he stay with me in companionship feel safe with me and even for some reason…..it felt right….. to try mounting at liberty.

After we played with this you can see that he is really connected to me he stays in time with my footfalls and I can feel that we love being together, sometimes he gets so close he bumps me, he doesn’t mean anything by it and if I am more aware of keeping the distance he will too, I think I like feeling close to him as well. Grow the connection then your horse will enjoy doing everything with you.

Love Jayne x

My soulmate, my teacher.

Most people who know me know of my journey with Noonoo, it started almost 12years ago. I fell in love with Xinita a 4 year old recently backed, very green and wobbly Lusitano mare. Over the years I have made many mistakes, not always had help from people who understood her, sometimes she had to shout to be heard, I was out of my league with her.

She has proved the saying ” When the pupil is ready the teacher will appear” I wasn’t actually ready but appear she did!

I have been helped ( luckily for us) first by Joyce Mulder who started us on the road to straightening her and helping her physically, also helping me to understand more about my seat, aids and how to influence her from work in hand and riding. Joyce continues to help us and has seen us evolve.

Noons teaching me to slow up!

The life changing thing she taught me was this alone was not enough, I had to discover Carolyn Resnick and The Waterhole Rituals ™ as well. Mainly to change me, our relationship and how, in whatever we do I must never let go of that. I will always stand up for her, be there for her and be grateful for her being my teacher, she knows I am trying to do my best and she is very forgiving of my mistakes.

This has also been life changing in the last few years since Carolyn made me a certified instructor, I know from my own horses how life enhancing this can be, so love that I can share it with others and am grateful to have met many horses and humans who come to the Carolyn Resnick Method, The Waterhole Rituals ™ clinics.

Recently I have ridden Noonoo bareback again to try and improve my seat in the canter she is coming up more in her shoulders and tries really hard for me. As we improve together we try to do the best for each other first we move her bottom one way then the other, we try to think more uphill and I try to remember not to drop her when we come back from canter. What ever we do we always have a strong connection, we really like each other and enjoy not only the Bond of friendship we share but the working bond and partnership in anything else we choose to do.

Noons helping me experiment further with Bitless dressage and sometimes bareback too, sometimes we ride at liberty without tack as well, nothing changes our relationship so long as I consider how she feels about what we do.

Love Jayne x

Catching the moment.

Some food for thought, have you ever tried to build the connection more with your horse at liberty by catching a behavior you may have set a boundary over and turning it into your idea?

An example came along the other day, someone I have been working with has a tricky horse who can switch off, however when woken up he can also loose control of himself and let his energy run away. We had to find a way to help him stay focused and aware with a little more energy but not so much that his focus goes and he is in panic.

When sent out he would do a bit of trot or canter then in the same place turn in and run towards his human, she found this disconcerting. He was sent away for this which would cause him to lose control of himself and any focus he had on his human. So we decided to ask him to come in just before the spot where he would choose to come in, this gave the impression it was our idea and he enjoyed it, being asked to do something he would have done and being praised for it. If we take baby steps towards guiding him, by growing the relationship and the bond, our horse will naturally become more focused and will want to come to us, when we ask. We have to stay mindful about when to set a boundary and when to rejig what is happening so that we don’t need to. By finding ways of making a request when our horse is willing we will grow our partnership. This is something Carolyn Resnick taught me through the Waterhole Rituals ™ ” ask when the horse is willing.”

We have to take the steps our horse can manage in everything we do, make it easy, make it something he wants to do. Catch the moment!

Love Jayne x

Advanced Carolyn Resnick method The Waterhole Rituals™ and beyond Clinic.

I was recently very lucky to host a Carolyn Resnick, The Waterhole Rituals™ and beyond, Advanced Clinic here at my home for some incredibly talented women. Two days went by far too fast, we explored together as a group and the horses left me breathless and I know them !!!! It showed me how they felt about the people who came, they were generous beyond my imagination. I loved having a small group and being able to allow the horses to show us so much. As ever I am grateful to Carolyn Resnick for changing my life. I am a very lucky person to be doing what I love so much.

The Working Bond.

I have really been enjoying the wonderful warm spring weather and as I look forward to visiting Witney Pony Partners in Oxfordshire next week, for a Waterhole Rituals ™ clinic, I am always reminded by my horses how important The Carolyn Resnick method, The Waterhole Rituals ™ are to everything we do together.

Through the relationship we have built my horses are happy to share a ‘Working Bond’ with me. I will always consider them and how they feel about something. In return they offer their best efforts.

Noonoo has shown me she prefers to be ridden bitless, I am not an accomplished rider by any means so the challenge of bitless dressage is one I continue to work at, on myself of course more than Noons.

Through the practice of The Waterhole Rituals ™ Noonoo and I share a bond that goes beyond anything I could have imagined she knows what I am asking and I know how she feels and what she enjoys.

This week she had a stone in her foot, it made a dent, after having an abscess earlier in the year I was horrified, to think she could have bruising and go through that pain again! I started tubbing her foot, just in case. Today she stood for 10 mins with her foot in the bucket with me her no 1 fan telling her how amazing she is, when I picked up a towel to dry it she lifted her foot from the bucket, held it up and looked at me as if to say this is what you wanted right? Horses never cease to surprise, amaze and fill me with joy.

Love Jayne and Noonoo x

Taking it slowly.

My horses have been the best teachers in helping me to slow down. Recently while working with Chester, he started his old habit of rushing he was trying to get me to walk faster. This also ties in with us staying focused I had to notice, he was rushing.

Today we hung out at the trailer together, he came for his first outing in it this week, a trip along the lane to see a friend. Where we went slowly around the arena, slowly into a pen and then slowly back into the trailer where I slowly drove home. We are going away together for the weekend and I am very much looking forward to not rushing with him!

Taking our time gives us the chance to be present, appreciate the moment and stay more focused. We may also experience something we might miss if we rush. Today I enjoyed the sunshine between the showers, after leading Chester into the trailer, I sat on the ramp and took his halter off, he wandered off for a bit then came back to sniff my feet and explore me a bit. When he returned again he walked straight into the trailer as if he thought I had been sitting there waiting for him to do that. He waited on the ramp coming out. I greeted him as he came down the ramp, slowly and we walked together around the car and trailer, I told him he was very clever and we stood by the fence watching the cows together, it was all very relaxing and SLOW.

Taking moments like this to slow up feel good, I try to remember how it feels and keep it with me when I am in a situation where I am tempted to rush. For going slowly, I think Chester enjoyed showing me he could work out how to do something that would please me, he makes me smile so much.

Have fun taking it easy,

Love Jayne x